It’s an often-overused metaphor that startups involve building an airplane while trying to fly it. That’s because startups get a bad rap for being risky, sometimes haphazard, ventures.
And while it’s true that joining a startup can be risky, it’s really only as risky as the strategies you put in place. What’s great about a startup environment is that you have the freedom to do what needs to be done. And there’s plenty to be done.
The key to making sure you prioritize your time effectively and are intentional about everything you do is to actually write down your strategy. While it may take an extra hour to do it, codifying your thoughts on paper not only makes it easier as you scale, it can help solidify your thoughts and find any gaps in your thinking.
Here’s my template for putting together a no-fail marketing strategy:
Goals & KPIs
Why are you doing this in the first place? What are you trying to achieve?
This step should be the first thing you fill out, because if you don’t know why you’re doing something, you definitely shouldn’t do it until you (and you team) can state clearly what goal you’re driving towards, whether it’s increased sales, a smoother internal process, or more marketing leads.
Then, include how you’re going to measure them and specifically, what numbers you’re going for. If your goal is to drive more traffic, how much more? 10% more? 200,000 sessions more? While it can be scary to hold yourself accountable to a specific number or percentage, it’s necessary to be driving toward something real, not just a vague “let’s make [X] better.”
Mission & Purpose
Goals are important, but they’re also implied. We’re always trying to increase sales or do better.
This is where you add the qualitative purpose. Maybe you have a specific problem that you’re solving for. Maybe it’s outlining your guiding principles for content, social, email, etc. Use this section to add meaning to your goal.
Who matters most for this strategy? Are you talking to your customers, prospects, partners, or all three? Outline who you’re targeting and exactly what you know about them so that whatever you create as a result of this strategy will speak directly to that audience. The more relevant you make your marketing, the more powerful it will be.
Why Will They Care?
It’s great to know who you’re talking to, but if they don’t care about what you have to say, then you’re basically talking to a brick wall. There’s a lot of noise out there, so you need to outline why people will care about what you have to say.
Once you have your why, you can start to put your framework together on how you’ll execute it. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Message: What you’ll say, in a variety of lengths
- Channels: Where you’ll say it
- Cadence: How often you’ll say it
- Tactics & Methods: Other methods for spreading the word
Now, let’s get specific about exactly what you’ll do to execute the strategy.
Inspiration from Others
Outline any inspiration or ideas that contribute to your strategy. This can be more general—I’m a fan of Wistia’s Instagram, for example—or specific, outlining exact ideas like a type of email, message, or tactic you’ve seen in your travels as a marketer or by reading blog posts and the like.
This framework works for any strategy, really, whether it’s a specific channel like social media or something broader like a quarter-long campaign. The most important thing to remember? Writing down your thoughts can make them better, so take the time to do it.